Sri Lankan food is a truly beautiful thing. With influences from colonial powers, foreign traders, and Southern India, it uses a base of spices we should almost all be used to by now, but in its own unique, island way. Opening in summer of 2015, Sambol Kitchen is just another addition to the growing collection of restaurants on Edmonton’s south side.
The restaurant is bright, open, and welcoming. The long wooden bench has an enticing, summer feel. This is definitely not the dark, rich colours of so many neighbouring Indian restaurants. The menu is large, with choices for shareable bowls, full sized bowls, small bites, salads, roti, hoppers and desserts.
As there was just two of us dining, we asked the woman behind Sambol Kitchen, Champa Pathirana, for some help. She did a good job of offering her suggestions. Too often, it’s easy for staff at restaurants to understand just a fraction of the menu. With Champa though, she was fully engaged and ready to help our inquiring minds. My dining partner and I decided to share two full sized bowls.
The Kotthu Bowl (with Mutton) is billed as street food made to perfection.The dish is made of cooked vegetables and shreddred soft roti. Of course, there is the curry base. I loved the soft, doughy, roti in this dish. It makes a perfect base for the curry and tender mutton. Mutton’s not something you see in every restaurant, so if you get the chance to eat older lamb, don’t pass on it.
The Chicken Banana Leaf Bowl (Lamprais) arrived with eye catching personality. The flavoured rice base was topped with curry, chunks of chicken, deeply caramelized onions, and a hard boiled fried egg. The flavours were excellent in this dish, but I couldn’t help myself from going back for more and more of the kotthu bowl.
Chef Priyantha Jayawardena was all smiles during our visit, as he popped in and out of the kitchen with dishes for Champa to deliver. You can tell there is a a great deal of pride in the food at Sambol, and rightfully so. It’s delicious, fresh, and takes you on a journey to a different corner of the world. Well done Sambol. Well done.